BECK: All right. Nothing funny about a fire alarm, when they`re false fire alarms. It wastes firefighters` time, puts lives at risk, and we can all agree on that. But it doesn`t stop kids from, you know, daring one another to do those false fire alarms, and that`s exactly what happened in Texas to 10-year-old Casey Harmeier.
Initially charged with a felony, but it has not been dropped to a Class "A" misdemeanor. It turns out that Casey didn`t even activate the alarm but merely removed the clear plastic cover from the alarm. Wait until you hear who did activate the alarm.
But that is not changing the mind of District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal. This is the D.A. He`s unmoved by the fact that Casey has always been a good kid with good grades -- I understand A`s and B`s -- never been in any kind of trouble until now. District Attorney Rosenthal has decided that there is evidence of scienter. I guess that`s a Latin`s lawyer term that basically said -- and we had to look it up -- that Casey, quote, "had the mental state embracing attempt to deceive, manipulate or defraud."
He`s 10, super lawyer. He`s made a stupid mistake. But if convicted, Casey could serve time in a juvenile facility with really bad kids, not first-time prank offenders. If you ask me, the case is starting to sound an awful lot like the one surrounding the Duke athletes with a D.A. that jumped to conclusions and then let ego and self-promotion get in the way of the truth.
I`m sorry, Mr. D.A. I know you`re in Texas, but I don`t think the death penalty really applies here. We did ask the district attorney to join us tonight. He has, surprisingly enough, declined.
I am joined, however, by Frank Harmeier and Tomball, Texas, public enemy number one, Casey Harmeier.
Casey, how are you holding up?
CASEY HARMEIER, 10-YEAR-OLD: I`m doing fine.
GRACE: OK. Are you a trouble-maker?
C. HARMEIER: No, sir.
BECK: OK. You ever been in trouble before this?
C. HARMEIER: No.
BECK: OK. And your grades, tell me about them.
C. HARMEIER: They`re all A`s and B`s, and I get all A`s in conduct.
BECK: OK. What happened with you in the hallway with the fire alarm?
C. HARMEIER: My friend dared me to pull the fire alarm, and -- well, he dared me to pull the case off, and I did.
BECK: OK. And then what happened?
C. HARMEIER: And then the teacher rushed over. Everybody ran back and left me right there trying to fix it, and then we all sat down, and I got sent to the principal`s office.
BECK: OK. Wait, wait, wait, who pulled the fire alarm?
C. HARMEIER: No one. I pulled the case off.
BECK: OK. And then the alarm went off by itself without pulling the alarm?
C. HARMEIER: It`s called a local alarm, and it warns whoever pulled the case, so they won`t pull the fire alarm unless it`s a real fire.
BECK: OK. And then you were called into the principal`s office. And how long were you in there with questioning?
C. HARMEIER: Four hours.
BECK: OK. Dad?
FRANK HARMEIER, SON FACING MISDEMEANOR CHARGES: Yes.
BECK: When, at what point were you called?
F. HARMEIER: About four hours after he had been taken into the principal`s office, they called us and said, hey, listen, you need to go get your child from jail.
BECK: OK. From jail?
F. HARMEIER: Yes.
BECK: Wait, they were in the principal`s office for four hours, then they took him to jail. What did they do to him in jail?
F. HARMEIER: Fingerprinted him, photographed him, I guess whatever they do whenever they book you. He was placed under arrest at the school and then taken to the jail.
BECK: OK. Honest question, as a dad.
F. HARMEIER: Yes.
BECK: In a way, were you glad this happened to your son?
F. HARMEIER: Well, if he had done something that was against the law, then certainly we would have been behind the right punishment.
BECK: OK. I mean, if my kids do something wrong, personally, I want the school to scare the crap out of them, but that`s not what`s happening here. They`re not just scaring him.
F. HARMEIER: No.
BECK: It has gone a lot further. Tell me about the deposition that he had to take.
F. HARMEIER: You know, once they said he did it, he had to go down, and basically they were, I guess, deciding if he was going to be allowed to stay in our house. You know, they asked him -- they took him, they separated him from us and asked him things like, "Has your dad ever raped you? Have you ever seen a dead body? Have you ever been high?"
BECK: Oh, my gosh.
F. HARMEIER: He was very upset.
BECK: And, Casey, you wrote in your journal -- I`m going to quote it here, we`ll put it up on the screen, the spelling is because it was written by a 10-year-old -- "I feel like a disease, like all I am is a vile monster of a person. Well, at least that`s what I think. I`m always scared all the time I leave my parents` sight, and the questions I had to answer were scary. And they asked if I had even been high, drunk or raped, and it scared me."
Casey, do you still feel that way? Are you still freaked out by all of this?
C. HARMEIER: Yes, it`s just very -- I`m very shocked that this happened.
BECK: And there`s a chance that you`re going to go to a juvenile detention facility for how long?
C. HARMEIER: I believe a year.
BECK: Frank, you turned down a plea.
F. HARMEIER: Yes.
BECK: And you turned down a plea that would have put you in parenting class and your wife in parenting class. You thought it was insulting. Could you just explain what you and your wife do for a living?
F. HARMEIER: I have a master`s degree in educational administration, and I`m a teacher, been one for 16 years. My wife stays at home with our children, but her degree is in early childhood education and childhood development.
BECK: Casey, Frank, we`ll be watching your case. It goes to court when?
F. HARMEIER: It goes to court May 15th.
BECK: Full jury trial?
F. HARMEIER: Full jury trial.
BECK: Thanks, guys.